This alphabetical psalm recalls in many expressions and phrases the thoughts and feelings of older songs. It has been identified with the “New Song” promised in Psalm 144:9. Possibly some thought of the kind may have led to its following it. The song, though abounding in familiar psalm expressions, deserves the claim of originality from the insistance of its conviction of the Divine love and pity and care for all the world and all creatures.
The acrostic arrangement is incomplete (see Note, Psalm 145:13), thus supplying only twenty-one instead of twenty-two stanzas. The parallelism is well sustained.
Title.—This is the only psalm inscribed tehillah, though the whole collection is, in Hebrew, called Tehillîm, or Tillîm. (See General Introduction.) It is possibly from Psalm 145:21; or perhaps this distinction is due to the early rise of the custom of repeating it daily at the noonday repast. So it would be called “Praise,” just as we speak of “the grace” before and after meat.
For ever and ever.—In contemplation of the greatness and majesty of God time ceases to be. The poet vows a homage indefinitely prolonged.
And his greatness.—Literally, more expressive, and for his greatness no search. (Comp. Isaiah 40:28; Job 11:7.)
Thy wondrous works.—Rather, as in Psalm 105:27 (see Note; comp. Psalm 65:3), the details of thy wonders. In psalms like 105, 106, &c, is the detailed fulfilment of this purpose.
The nun stanza, which should come after Psalm 145:13, has most probably dropped away. The LXX. and Vulg., Syriac, and Ethiopic have here a variation of Psalm 145:17, which would, in Hebrew, give a verse beginning with the required letter; but it is unknown to the other ancient versions, is rejected by the Jewish writers, and, though found in one Hebrew MS., is apparently suspicious there. But these arguments can hardly weigh against the improbability that, in an artificial composition, one letter (and that an easy one for the purpose) should have been either purposely or accidentally omitted in the original draft, especially when we reflect how extremely unlikely it was that the LXX. should trouble themselves to supply a verse in order to keep up an arrangement of which they took no other notice, perhaps even hardly observed it.
“Regia (crede mihi) res est succurrere lapsis.”
OVID: Ep. de Ponto 11., 9, 11.
But they had hardly seen that it was also god-like.
For “raiseth” and “bowed down,” see Psalm 146:8.
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”
TENNYSON: Higher Pantheism.